The conservative magazine <a href=http://www.weeklystandard.com/>The Weekly Standard</a>, apparently not wanting to allow <a href=http://www.commentarymagazine.com>Commentary</a> to have all the fun, has waded into the anti-evolution biz by publishing <a href=http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Protected/Articles/000/000/005/377xndpp.asp>this miserable article</a> by Paul McHugh. It is the usual melange of literary arrogance coupled with scientific ignorance. It does, however, provide a useful opportunity to review the various litmus tests you can apply to distinguish between serious commentators on the one hand, and dishonest hacks on the other.
If the author of the article you are reading uses any of the following devices in making his case:
- Make a reference to thought control.
- Bring up Inherit the Wind.
- Imply that evolution is about ideology and not science.
- Pretend that evolution has made no progress since Darwin.
- Use quotations from scientists misleadingly and without indicating their source.
- Bring up Piltdown Man.
- Use the term “Darwinian fundamentalist.”
- Pretend that the theory of Punctuated Equilibrium refutes core tenets of neo-Darwinism.
- Put words into the mouths of scientists without providing citations.
- Accuse scientists of being dishonest. </ol> then you are almost certainly reading the work of a dishonest hack. I've fleshed out the details in <a href=http://evolutionblog.blogspot.com/2005/03/litmus-tests.html>this post</a> over at <a href=http://evolutionblog.blogspot.com>EvolutionBlog.</a>